The kids are going back at school. That means last minute shopping dashes for new uniforms, school books and stationary. It means a sudden rush to get holiday projects finished and arguments over school lunches and pick-up times. It means a general readjustment of family life back into some semblance of routine. But most importantly, after several weeks of balancing work with entertaining the little ones at home or abroad day after day, it means it is time for a romantic break for mum and dad.
Once the children are occupied at school again, seize the opportunity to book a quick relaxing minibreak for just the two of you.
With its blend of history, culture, beauty and buzz, the city of Bath makes a perfect romantic getaway destination.
Our stunning self-catering Bath holiday homes, which sleep between two and ten guests, are all located within a short stroll of the historic city centre making any of them a perfect launch-pad for a Bath minibreak.
Here is our guide to planning a child-free romantic minibreak in Bath:
1) Spoil yourself at the spa
Thanks to its natural hot springs, Bath has been a spa town since ancient times when the Romans built the bathing complex after which the city takes its name. Today you can still benefit from the mineral rich geothermal waters at the award-winning Thermae Spa Bath with its rooftop pool or indulge in the five-star luxury of the Gainsborough Hotel’s Spa Village. Both spas use the natural hot springs which bring 1 million litres of hot water, containing 42 minerals, bubbling to the surface each day.
Situated right in the heart of the historic city centre, the Thermae Spa Bath is an ideal spot for a relaxing afternoon, wandering between the rooftop pool, the indoor Minerva Bath and the Wellness Suite with its steam rooms, infrared room and ice chamber or spoil yourself with one of more than 40 spa treatments.
The five-star Gainsborough Hotel, opened in 2015, boasts a luxurious spa complex set beneath a glass atrium where guests can ‘take the waters’ at the Bath House, visiting a circuit of natural thermal pools, saunas, steam room and ice alcove or choose from a vast array of spoiling treatments designed to leave them feeling a million dollars.
2) Promenade back in time to the Regency era
Bath is famed for its extensive collection of stunning Regency properties which make up most of its historic centre and led to the city being bestowed Unesco World Heritage status in 1987. From the iconic Royal Crescent to the Circus and Pulteney Bridge, the city is awash with rare 18th century architecture, built using the beautiful golden Bath stone.
It is also celebrated for its links with Regency author Jane Austen who lived in Bath on and off throughout her life and used it as the setting in a number of her novels. So, now you don’t have the little ones threatening to get bored every 10 minutes, head out on a Regency promenade of the city taking in all its most famous Georgian streets and buildings – you’ll soon be transported back 200 years straight into the pages of Persuasion and Northanger Abbey. Have a read of our guide to a perfect Regency promenade around Bath before planning your route.
If that’s not enough, dip into the Jane Austen Centre to learn about the author’s life and works in Bath.
If you love all things Georgian, you could also opt to stay in one of our two Regency Bath holiday homes, Toll Keeper’s House or the Bridge House. The two wonderful self-catering properties are built into the side of Cleveland Bridge with terraces and gardens overlooking the River Avon.
3) Culture vulture your way around a museum
Bath has several fantastic museums and galleries with something to suit all interest and tastes. There are the Roman Baths themselves of course, which are among the best preserved Roman remains in the world and give a fascinating insight into this focal point of Roman life.
Beyond the Baths, admire beautiful artworks at the Victoria Art Gallery or the Holburne Museum which houses paintings by Gainsborough, Zoffany and Stubbs or journey through 400-years of sartorial style at the Fashion Museum Bath which displays everything from ornate Georgian gowns to clothes by cutting edge contemporary designers. If modern art is more to your liking, the Edge’s Andrew Brownsword Gallery is worth a visit.
You could pop into No 1 Royal Crescent for an insight into Georgian life in Bath, with every room furnished in the style of the period, or head to the Museum of Bath at Work to hear the tale of Bath’s development as a city over 2000 years. Select the museum or gallery which best suits your mood and enjoy it in child-free peace and quiet.
5) Row row row your boat…
Nothing could be more romantic than sipping wine while punting down a picturesque river, waters sparkling in the golden autumn sunshine. The River Avon snakes its way right through the heart of Bath, offering ample opportunity to visitors to enjoy a spot of rowing or punting. Head to the Bath Boating Station where you can rent a punt, Thames Skiff rowing boat, Canadian canoe or kayak depending on preference and enjoy a tranquil couple of hours drifting up and down past the lush green river banks. You can take your boat a couple of miles upriver to the idyllic pub at Bathampton Mill and enjoy a refreshing pint before allowing the current to take you gently back downstream.
If this sounds like far too much hard work, you can take a boat trip up the river or, alternatively up the Kennet and Avon canal, allowing you to admire the glorious rolling green countryside that surrounds the city.
6) Sip on afternoon tea
There is nothing quite so quintessentially English and indulgent than a proper afternoon tea. There are several places in Bath that offer a spectacular teatime experience according to taste and budget. If you are feeling flush, few places do it better than the Royal Crescent Hotel where guests are treated to a selection of delicious sandwiches, followed by freshly baked scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam served alongside a range of dainty pastries and cakes. You could even add some sparkle with a flute of Taittinger Champagne. Other smart hotels which excel with beautifully presented teatime treats in wonderfully opulent settings include the Bath Priory Hotel, No 15 Great Pulteney Street and The Gainsborough.
If you want an elegant Georgian setting, head to the Pump Room where you can admire the stunning interior and listen to the live pianist while you sip on one of their wide range of teas and bite into a delicate sandwich or cake.
7) Enjoy some fine dining
Bath is spoilt for choice when it comes to good restaurants so make sure you set aside at least one evening to indulge your taste-buds with some fine dining. Leaving the children at home means you can really spoil yourselves and go for that swanky restaurant or taster menu knowing you have all the time in the world to enjoy it. Have a read of our blog post on fun and fine dining in Bath to get some inspiration on some of the city’s most celebrated eateries or have a look at our list of favourite Bath gastro-pubs as the best of these serve up fantastic creative seasonal menus that would not be out of place in a top restaurant.
If you are vegetarian, plant-based or simply looking to cut back on your meat consumption for 2019, have a look at our recommendations for the best vegetarian restaurants in Bath – they’re worth a visit whether you are veggie or not.
If you want to round off the evening in style, Bath has several fabulous cocktail bars from quirky subterranean dens to swanky lounge bars all of which serve an exciting range of delicious liquid libations. Have a read of our guide to Bath’s best cocktail bars to find out more.
9) A trip to the theatre or cinema
Why not round off your perfect indulgent day with some evening entertainment – either at the theatre or cinema, particularly now the evenings are getting a bit darker.
The Theatre Royal Bath stages a wide range of touring West End shows in the grand surroundings of its main playhouse and more experimental or new material in its Ustinov Studio. Other smaller theatres such as the Mission Theatre and Chapel Arts Theatre host a varied programme of comedy, theatre and music while Komedia offers a colourful mix of live performance from cabaret and comedy to music and film.
Bath can also offer a truly lavish cinema going experience with its boutique Tivoli Cinema which boasts a stylish lounge bar and café offering a seasonal menu of small plates and classic cinema treats with a twist such as the wild boar hot dog. In the movie theatre itself you can sink back into plush sofas with your own lamp lit side table for drinks and let the show unfold. If you prefer a more vintage experience, head to the charming Little Theatre Cinema Bath, running since 1935, showing mainstream and arthouse films across its three screens. There is wine, beer, tea, coffee and other beverages and snacks on offer to keep you sustained throughout the films.
There are of course many other fun things to do and see during a romantic minibreak in Bath but the suggestions above should provide some inspiration for planning your trip. If you want further advice on Bath and its surroundings please get in touch with one of our expert team who know the city inside out and will be happy to help.